Fresh off the back of their own European disappointments, Hibernian produced a clinical display to defeat Aberdeen and pick up their first win of the Scottish Premiership season at a sun-kissed Pittodrie.

Substitute Adam Le Fondre broke the deadlock with 15 minutes to play, firing a left-footed volley beyond Kelle Roos after being left unmarked inside the box. And Christian Doidge quickly doubled Hibs' lead with a header from close range shortly after. The big striker had initially hit the crossbar before Aberdeen failed to clear their lines and were punished. David Gray's side now climb above the Dons into tenth place, with Aberdeen and St Johnstone propping up the table on two points from four games.

Gray, who is in his third spell as caretaker, remained coy on whether he wanted to remain in the Easter Road hot seat long-term despite admitting he's delighted by his players response. He confessed: "As I say, I've been asked to do a job for the two games and I've managed to do that. Delighted for everyone, the players especially, it's been tough for them but the response we've had, the togetherness that's in there is very good. The squad's very good and as you say, it does buy the club time but it's entirely up to them how they want to approach it going forward. I've been asked to do the next two games, which is now over, and I'm sure that I'll have a conversation with the club in the coming days and we will find out what happens moving forward."

READ MORE: Graham Arnold rejects chance to become next Hibs manager

Selection conundrum

Frustrated Aberdeen boss Barry Robson pointed to the fact his team need time to bed in after constructing a huge rebuild. He said: "As we go, as a team we will be alright. You can see glimpses of our performances, I think the two Hacken games, we were outstanding, the Celtic game at home, we were outstanding. I think the other games that we've played have caught us out a wee bit and that one did catch us out a wee bit today. It's just frustrating because we looked a bit flat. Listen, Hibs had the same game time as us."

Robson is clearly still finding out his best starting XI after making 13 signings this summer. But he opted for just two alterations from the team that fell short against BK Hacken on Thursday. Connor Barron came into the side for a rare start. The Scotland U21 star's introduction gave Leighton Clarkson a rest on the bench while Angus MacDonald replaced Shayden Morris. Pape Habib Gueye was handed a spot in the squad for the first time since his arrival from KV Kortrijk but Deadline Day recruit Stefan Gartenmann was absent. 

There's been a managerial exit at Hibernian within the past week as Lee Johnson was shown the door after a dismal start to the season. Gray is now in interim charge and he made three changes from Thursday's defeat to Aston Villa. Will Fish, Martin Boyle and Dylan Vente returned to the starting XI as Rocky Bushiri, Jordan Obita and Doidge made way. 

It's still early days in the season as both managers will be starting to figure out what players they can trust. In Robson's case, he has inherited a large squad with Rhys Williams, Vicente Besuijen and Or Dadia among those excluded from the match day squad. Meanwhile, Gray has Chris Cadden, Dylan Levitt, Jake Doyle-Hayes and Harry McKirdy still on the treatment table. Although how long can any manager be given to 'tinker'.

Facing the pressure

The stakes were always going to be high given neither side had picked up a win going into the clash. Gray dubbed it a "cup final" in the pre-match build up and that's exactly how it panned out for his men. Nicky Devlin and Will Fish respectively headed the game's first chances over the bar from close range. Roos was then made to react from an excellent Martin Boyle effort. Bojan Miovski twice stung the palms of David Marshall but ultimately the first half was stop-start with lots of niggly fouls resulting in free-kicks - it did little to excite the 16,471 supporters inside Pittodrie. 

The second half continued to follow the same pattern. Joe Newell fired wide from a corner and Miovski threatened the Hibs goal with a header before James McGarry's goalbound effort was deflected behind for a corner. But it was Hibs who were clinical and took their chances through Le Fondre and Doidge to win the clash and now leave Robson under pressure going into the international break. The Dons have won just two games from their past 12 games and fans will demand better considering the significant sums of money spent over the past few months. For Hibs, they will head back down to Edinburgh delighted to get off the mark with a first league victory of the 2023/24 campaign, leaving many to ponder if Gray could be the man to take the reins permanently.

READ MORE: Grant Holt suspects 'split' over potential Neil Lennon return to Hibs

Defence's in the spotlight

Slobodan Rubezic has yet to settle into Scottish football with some questionable defending in his first few matches for Aberdeen. And it was a testing afternoon once again for the Serbian. From letting the ball bounce to getting caught up the pitch out of position then being shown yellow by the 26 minute mark. The pace of Hibs' Elie Youan terrorised him down the left-hand side. Aberdeen's defence as a whole were living dangerously throughout the opening 45. 

Rubezic was withdrawn at the break in place of Shayden Morris, who gave the Dons an unpredictable wide threat of their own. Although that was short lived as Morris had to go off injured 16 minutes later. Despite a change in shape to a back four, no one in red seemed confident in the system and were found wanting for both Le Fondre and Doidge's goals. 

The visitors, who had conceded eight goals from their opening three league games prior, looked more solidified as a unit - carried by the experience of Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson. They had more to contend with in the second half, however, for Aberdeen even throwing Ester Sokler alongside Duk and Miovski for the final half hour, the Dons barely forced Marshall into action.

Duk struggles continue

The Aberdeen striker bagged 18 goals during his debut campaign. However, he has yet to get off the mark this season. He spurred a couple of huge chances on Thursday and once again the Cape Verde international struggled to get going. He was played into shooting positions on multiple occasions but failed to test the goalkeeper. On the one occasion he appeared to have the beating of Lewis Miller, he went to ground but referee David Munro opted not to award a penalty.

He was a fan's favourite last season in the Granite City but punters could be heard groaning about Duk's performance. Perhaps confidence and fitness could come into question, which can be worked on during the forthcoming international break before a tough trip to face Hearts at Tynecastle beckons.

Exposing the gaps 

Hibernian, much like Hacken in midweek, exposed the centre midfield area effectively. Aberdeen lost Ylber Ramadani earlier this summer and failed to find a replacement. Barron was given a chance in that role alongside Shinnie but despite the pair's continuous running and enthusiasm, it looked far too easy for Hibs to run through them at ease. The midfield and defence were overrun and it became evident how disjointed they were every time Hibs broke forward. The pace and tempo Gray's side showed will stand the former Hibees defender in good stead to be selected for the vacant managerial role in the long-term, with his fate yet to be decided.